For years I believed that I knew what the end of time would look like. I was sure certain events would have to take place that would be markers telling us just where we were on the compendium of last day events. Now, I’m not as sure.
Something is happening but what it all means is not exactly clear to me anymore. What I do know is that events are swirling around us faster than most of us can keep you with. Are the plagues of Revelation really environmental disasters that spiral out of control and usher in the end?
Reading the news over the last few days is like reading the unfolding of our own demise. There is no doubt that we are heading for a globalization of the world that will bring us all under one umbrella of economic and social unification. For some of us who believe globalization is the final great movement of Biblical prophecy, the aspects of this happening before our eyes is quite unnerving.
As more and more of our world shutters under the force of terrorism, economic slowdown, unemployment, mass migration, famine and environmental disasters, the world will cry out for a leader. Populist leaders will spring up promising a bright new future for the world, but at what cost?
Our world is becoming smaller and our ability to disentangle ourselves from world events is shrinking. When terrorism strikes Paris or Orlando or Dallas we are instantly caught up in the drama of the situation. The result is that we are becoming desensitized to killings and mayhem because of the frequency of the events. However, deep down we know there is more to these killings than mad men at work—it is evil.
Where this world is going in the next few years gives room for serious thought and what events are going to unfold if Revelation is to believed are frightening. Though we might speculate how certain events will unfold one thing is certain and it is the fact that we are hurtling down a track at a speed that can only end with the return of Christ.
Like I said in the opening sentence of this post I use to believe I knew how prophecy was going to play out. This event would happen and then that prophecy would unfold and that would lead to the next and so on. Today, like I said, I’m not so sure any longer. Events such as the rise of militant Islam and the worldwide migration of huge numbers of people were not part of the scenario when I was studying prophecy in Seminary. Yet today no thoughtful student of Eschatology can evade the force of these powerful equations when talking about current events and prophecy.
How God brings about the climax of world history is His prerogative and He will accomplish His will in His time and His way. As followers of Jesus we should have a good understanding of the events predicted and told about in Matthew, Thessalonians, Luke, and Revelation as well as the prophecies of the Old Testament. Will we understand them perfectly and be able to chart them and clarify them one hundred percent accurately? I doubt it.
Should we be afraid of the rapidly changing world and the events that tumble into our newspaper every day? We need to be aware, no doubt about that, but we need not fear because as followers of Jesus we are secure in His hands. Remember John 10:28-29 and Jesus assurance that no one can pluck us from His hand or the Father’s hand. We are secure in Christ because we put our trust and faith in His saving power and grace.
Yet, that doesn’t mean we should be nonchalant or careless in our study of God’s word when it comes to prophecy. It is imperative to study and have a grasp of what the Bible says. With all the competing voices ready and willing to give their interpretations of prophecy it is difficult to know what is the right interpretation. And that leads me back to my dilemma. In a changing world where events overtake us at such speed what we might have imagined last day events would look like five years ago look nothing like that now.
So, what are we to do? First of all we shouldn’t take our theology of last day events from off the Internet. Ruth and I have done a small survey of what is being said and there are crazy teachings being passed off by so called prophets that have nothing to do with Biblical teachings whatsoever. Be leery.
Stay true to the Bible and do a little study into the nature of prophecy. Remember the prophecies of the Bible were primarily for the people to whom the books of the Bible were written. Not all things are to be taken literally, and context means everything. Some prophecies are pretty straightforward and some are a bit more complicated like those in Revelation.
Pray and pray about what you are reading and seriously seek the direction of the Holy Spirit in understanding the text. Don’t allow current events to dictate how you look at the text. There are rules for how to interpret prophecy, look them up and apply them to your study.
If there is a writer or pastor that you trust Biblically see what they have to say about the texts you’re studying but remember they could be wrong.
So, where does that leave us? It leaves us in the arms of Christ, our strength and our stronghold. If we spend more time developing a closer walk with Christ the world around us doesn’t become as scary as it seems. Trust Jesus to take us through the events around us, and the crises that seems to hit our planet daily.
God loves us unconditionally with a never-ending love that will never allow us to be broken on the stone pile of broken prophetic predictions. I believe He opens our minds and hearts to truth, but remember, truth comes to us through the pages of our Bible.
No, I’m not positive any longer on how everything plays out at the end. I know what I think is going to happen but that doesn’t make it happen that way. Could I be wrong—probably? Will God direct me into all truth—most assuredly? We must all simply be open to His teaching and guidance through the Spirit that leads us to truth. This might mean we have to give up on cherished pet beliefs or change our view of how we think things work out prophetically. But, for those willing to grow and be led by the Spirit, a world of wonder, knowledge, and encouragement lies ahead of us even in these troubled times.